Word has it that many employers are eliminating or downsizing their holiday parties this year due to the economy. While that’s hard for the food and beverage industry, it’s good for employers’ risk management. Why? Because holiday parties are notorious breeding grounds for harassment claims.
Several things contribute to this situation. First, the free flow of alcohol. Second, the free flow of alcohol. Third, employees who somehow think that because it’s a party, it’s not work-related. Fourth, managers who set a bad example for the troops.
So what’s the solution? Tame parties are good: lunches, potlucks, white elephant gift exchanges. If an evening party is the tradition, keep the alcohol to a minimum, coach management on its role model obligations, and end the party early. Or just give out gift certificates for a Christmas ham or turkey. Really boring, but tasty and useful. ~AS